Medical Malpractice Case May Lead Legislators to Re-Consider Filing Restrictions

A cancer misdiagnosis has led New York state legislators to re-think the Empire State’s severe statute of limitations concerning when someone can bring a medical malpractice claim. The case in question involves a woman who went to Kings County Hospital complaining of a severe cough. X-rays were taken and hospital officials told her that her asthma was causing the cough. Two years later, the x-ray showed that she had Stage 4 lung cancer and had six months to live. Because New York has restrictive limits on when someone can bring a claim against a hospital for misdiagnosis, she was left without legal options. According to the Brooklyn-Eagle, “The statute of limitations is twofold. First, a victim of medical misdiagnosis or malpractice has 90 days from the date of injury to notify the city of his/her intention to sue. Secondly, the suit must be filed within 15 months of the injury. In order to bring a claim against Kings County Hospital for its misdiagnosis of her cancer, Wilkinson would had to have notified the city that she was going to sue within 90 days of her initial x-ray — an almost impossible feat if one is not aware that he or she has been misdiagnosed. For privately owned hospitals, however, the statute of limitations begins to run when the patient became aware or should have reasonably become aware of their misdiagnosis, and there is no requirement that the patient notify the hospital of his or her intention to sue prior to actually filing a lawsuit.” If this case doesn’t lead to a reform of the NY state law, one can only wonder what would compel the State to protect their residents.